Chase Von: Donna, How are you? And on behalf of yours truly and the Student Operated Press, I thank you Donna for finding the time for this!
The school year has just kicked in and with you being a teacher I know your hands are full so thanks again for finding the time to share yourself with our readers!
Donna: Thank you very much Chase and the Student Operated Press for having me here on this interview.
I am thrilled that you asked to interview me. In fact, I am honored. I am also very happy to share myself with all of the readers.
Chase Von: Your book touches on a myriad of subjects! But before we get into that, I know you certainly didn`t have the best childhood. Can you tell us where you grew up, what it was like coming from an abusive home?
And how you found through writing you could not only heal yourself of addictive behaviors but also help others who find themselves in the same place?
Donna: I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. Coming from an abusive home was painful. I felt alone much of the time. Being a child, I did not understand the abuse that took place in my home. Writing helped a great deal to heal from the abuse, and to let go of unhealthy behaviors. It enabled me to release the pent up emotions I held in through the years.
Writing enhanced my life because I was able to let go of my past. Through writing. I have been able to forgive my parents. I realize now that they could not give the unconditional love, which every child needs because they did not have the tools to do so.
I learned to become my own parent by honoring and loving myself. Forgiving my parents has brought me peace. Many of my family, friends, students and readers have told me that my story poetry book has enabled them to take a look at their lives and behaviors.
I think that the connection I make with them is what motivates me to continue writing my books. This is especially true when any one of my reader`s, youth, or adult makes positive changes for themselves.
Chase Von: I posted a bulletin on Amazon, which is how we ended up connecting called, what are your three favorite poems of all time? (Smile).
It`s not the most popular one on there mind you but I am surprised it has gotten as much activity as it has! I am also meeting great poets and that of course includes you. (Smile). Who are some of the poets that you most admire?
Donna: Thank you so much for the complement Chase. It was a pleasure to meet a great poet like you on Amazon. I loved the poems that you shared with me. They touched my heart. You have an incredible talent for writing poetry and song lyrics.
Some of the poets I admire are YOU Chase Von, (smile) along with Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Elizabeth Barrett.
Chase Von: Where did you come up with the title for your book, Embrace The Light?
Donna: My title Embrace The Light describes who I am today. I try to see the good in people and life. Being in the dark much of my younger years from child abuse and some domestic abuse, and alcoholism, I was always searching for love and light in my life. I never really knew how to find it. Unfortunately, I turned to alcohol to ease my pain.
Today I have twenty years of sobriety which I am very grateful for. I never gave up, and I am happy to say I have found happiness and peace.
When I turned my life and will over to the care of God his love and grace healed my heart, mind, and soul. For me, poetry is a gift from God. My gift to him is to reach out to others through my poetry, and share it with them. I believe that God works through others.
Chase Von: In getting to know you better, I`ve learned that you gave a poem one day to an at risk student to inspire him. And after that other students were asking for poems from you as well.
I know you were tremendously touched by the reaction you got from them and all the positive changes you saw in them upon receiving your poems. But how did you write poetry for each individual student that you knew would touch that particular student in a desired way? Instinct? Gut feelings or just your knowledge of them as individuals?
Donna: Yes Chase, I did give a poem to one of my at risk students one day when he appeared to be down. I wanted to cheer him up. I was touched deeply when I saw him the next day. He was happy and also made the poem into a card for his girlfriend. The other students began to ask me to write poems for them.
I believe that God has blessed me with insight and empathy for others. This enables me to write poems for them while reinforcing their strengths and encouraging them to become accountable for their limitations. When I give a poem to a student, friend, or reader I feel blessed when it brings out the best in them.
Chase Von: I know six of your creations have been published in Anthology Books, as well as you are a Poet Ambassador and who has won five Editor Choice Awards!
But when was it that you decided to go from writing poems to actually putting them in a book?
And were your students the primary reason for that or was that something you intended to do all along?
Donna: I was extremely excited when six out of my seven poems published in Anthology books won the Editors Choice Award. One Poem that won was for my four grandchildren titled: I Love You When, another poem was for a teacher that I worked with. She lost her sister and brother-in-law in a tragic accident. The title is Mama.
Being a poetry Ambassador has been extremely rewarding. I love to inspire youth to write poetry, and motivate them to publish their poems as well. When I hand out a poem to one of my students, and it helps them in some way, it melts my heart! I would have to say yes, my students were the primary reason I wrote my poetry book. It is wonderful to see the light in their eyes when they can relate to the poems.
The outstanding connection I have made with my students has led for a passion to touch more youth and adults. When I inspire others with my poems it in turns inspires me.
Chase Von: I often ask these questions of the people I interview. I went from wanting to write a book, to writing one, to become my own publisher, to publishing others and now I am also mentoring student writers here and not only contributing my own works, but doing interviews such as this one. (Smile).
I also started out writing poetry, and then although I still write poetry added song lyrics to that and later quotes and then branched out into short stories. I think I might tackle a novel one-day! Heh, Heh:) And I am also reading a book on script writing or how to do that as well.
But what else do you plan on doing? Are you going to stay strictly poetry? Or do you see yourself expanding into writing stories or actual novels as well? And how long will it be before your second book titled Coming Home To My Heart is released?
Donna: I think that it is wonderful for your many accomplishments Chase. My book Coming Home To My Heart will be released sometime this year. I am hoping by winter. This will be another poetry book that will include child abuse, motivation, and inspiration.
Along with some family, friends, love poems, and spirituality poems. I plan to write an autobiography book to help others who have been through similar experiences.
Chase Von: Who besides your students have been some of your biggest supporters and motivators? And also who are some of the people you yourself consider Mentors and that aid you in becoming a greater writer?
Donna: God has inspired me to write. I believe this is where the gift of writing comes from. Colleagues, such as teachers have inspired me to write also and to continue writing. Other inspiring authors have motivated me to write my poetry also.
I come from a musical background, and my grandparents were singers who sang in weddings and church. This had a huge impact on me. I admired them for it. They were kind and wonderful people.
My mother inspired me with her opera singing. She was also a piano teacher. I tried to follow their footsteps when I was young and spent hours in my room making up songs. I had an Aunt who wrote poetry for children also. Family and friends also told me I had a gift of writing poetry, which inspired me and motivated me even more to continue writing.
Chase Von: Is there a relatively short poem you can share with our readers to that they can have a taste of your skills? (Smile). And can you also give a little history on it prior to so we know the inspiration that was initially behind it?
Donna: Thank you Chase for asking me to share one of my poems for you and the readers.
The Space In-Between My Heart
The space in-between my heart
Feels alone and terribly dark
It lays hardened yet quite protected
Its surroundings are dull and extremely infected
With a coating of dust which covers it interior
A dimmed light is shattered in the rear
The components are covered with a mist
Portraying visions of love that were missed
Spurts of water seeps to drown memories sounds
Emptiness fills a cushion all around
Attempts of filling the space are made
But shattered dreams leave a large trace
My heart feels weary from this dreary space
So it sheds love and light to take its place
This poem describes what it was like for me living in an abusive home and growing up. Through recovery and writing I have been blessed to find love, light and peace.
Chase Von: That was beautiful Donna. (Smile). Thanks so very much for sharing! How important is family to you, and what is your take on the state of our current world?
Donna: Family is very important to me. I have two grown children and four young grandchildren. They are my heart. I enjoy spending every moment I possible can with my grandchildren it brings out the child in me. It`s as though I am getting a second chance at my childhood. We have a lot of fun together.
I am very close to them. Even though I was abused I forgive my parents.
I really believe that the disease alcoholism played a huge part in the way they have treated me. It is pointless to hold onto resentment for people who are sick. I pray for them and try to be there for them.
Chase Von: What would you say, if you were standing in front of a microphone that could be heard by every child on the planet and regardless of what language it was they spoke, they would understand you? What positive advice would you give the children, if that were possible?
Donna: Have faith in God and yourselves. Listen and take suggestions from your parents and teachers. To have a good friend you must be a good friend. You are special in your own unique way. Follow your dreams and make good choices.
Eliminate the negative and assimilate the positive. Believe in yourselves you hold the key. Forget the drama begin to honor who you are a true star. Be a leader not a follower. Give to the world and the world will give back to you. Your future is untouched be all you were meant to be.
Chase Von: Where can our readers find your book? And can you also list the various web sites that you have so they can learn more about you?
Also, I am aware that your next book, Coming Home To My Heart is on the way, but are there any future projects your working on you can give our readers a heads up on?
Donna: I hope to become a radio show host to inspire youth and adults in the near future. I plan on writing and publishing an autobiography book and continue writing poetry books.
The easiest way readers can find my book is through my website
The title of my book is: Embrace The Light; a woman`s story through poetry to touch your heart.
Donna M. Solitario
Embrace the Light; a woman`s story through poetry to touch your heart
Also available at: Barnes&Noble.com